Internet Security Alert POP-UP Scam

Also Known As: "Internet Security Alert" virus
Type: Adware
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

Internet Security Alert removal instructions

What is Internet Security Alert?

"Internet Security Alert" is a fake error message similar to Microsoft Warning Alert, Ransomware Detected, Warning: Hyper-V Manager, and many others. This error is displayed by malicious websites that users often visit inadvertently - they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that infiltrate systems without consent. As well as causing redirects, PUPs stealthily run unwanted processes, deliver malicious ads, and record various user-system information.

Internet Security Alert adware

"Internet Security Alert" claims that the system is infected with a number of viruses and, for this reason, private information (banking details, logins/passwords, stored data, etc.) is at risk. It goes on to state that these viruses must be eliminated immediately. Victims are encouraged to contact Windows Technical Support via a toll-free telephone number ("(866) 564-0233") provided. They are then supposedly guided through the malware removal process. As mentioned above, "Internet Security Alert" error is fake. It is a scam and has nothing to do with Microsoft. Criminals attempt to generate revenue by claiming to be certified technicians and demanding payment for support. Furthermore, these people often demand remote access to the caller's computer then install malware and/or change system settings. Criminals then claim to "find" even more issues and offer their help for additional fees. For these reasons, never attempt to call the aforementioned telephone number. The "Internet Security Alert" error can be removed simply by closing the web browser or rebooting the system (some websites use scripts that prevent users from closing the browser). As mentioned above, potentially unwanted programs (and malicious websites) stealthily perform various background tasks (such as mining cryptocurrency). This misuse of system resources can result in a significant reduction in overall performance. In addition, PUPs often deliver various malvertising ads that conceal underlying content (thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience), and might also redirect to malicious websites, or even execute scripts that download and install malware. Therefore, clicking them risks serious computer infections. Potentially unwanted programs also record various data that might contain personal details. This data is sold to third parties for marketing purposes. These actions are performed only to generate revenue. PUPs pose a direct threat to your privacy and especially Internet browsing safety. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you uninstall them immediately.

The Internet is full of potentially unwanted programs that share many similarities. All claim to provide "useful features" (such as VPN services, image optimization, media play, etc.), however, these false claims are merely attempts to give the impression of legitimacy. In fact, only a small fraction of PUPs provide the functions promised. Most are useless for regular users. They are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than providing the functions promised, these rogue programs promote suspicious websites (by causing unwanted redirects), diminish system performance, deliver malicious ads (via the "Pay Per Click" advertising model), and gather user-system information.

How did adware install on my computer?

Research shows that some PUPs have official download/promotion websites, however, criminals also proliferate them via a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" (stealth installation of third party programs together with regular software/apps), and via the aforementioned malicious ads. Developers do not reveal details of bundled program installation - they conceal this information within various sections (usually the "Custom/Advanced" settings) of the download/installation processes. Rushing the download/installation processes (by skipping steps) and clicking ads exposes systems to risk of various infections and compromises your privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when downloading/installing software and browsing the Internet in general. Carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs to opt-out of all additionally-included programs. Bear in mind that cyber criminals monetize third party download/installation tools using bundling (they promote third party software). Therefore, we strongly advise you to avoid using such tools - your software should be downloaded only from official/certified sources, using a direct download link. Criminals invest a great deal of time and resources into designing malicious ads. Therefore, most appear genuine, however, they often redirect to survey, adult dating, gambling, pornography, and other suspicious sites. If you encounter such ads, immediately check the list of installed apps/browser plug-ins and removeany suspicious entries. Poor knowledge of these threats and rushing steps are the main reasons for computer infections.

Another variant of this scam with a red background, cyber criminals are using +61-1800-431-245 phone number:

internet security alert scam pop-up variant 2

Text presented within Internet Security Alert error:

Internet Security Alert! Code: 055BCCAC9FEC
Internet Security Alert: Your Computer Might Be Infected by Harmful Viruses.
Please Do Not Shut Down or Reset Your Computer.
The following data will be compromised if you continue:
1. Passwords
2. Browser History
3. Credit Card Information
4. Local Hard Disk Files.

This virus is well known for complete identity and credit card theft. Further action through this computer or any computer on this network will reveal private information and involve serious risks.

Call Windows Technical Support: (866) 564-0233 (Toll Free)

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Quick menu:

Adware removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

Internet Security Alert adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Remove adware from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing Internet Security Alert ads from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removing Internet Security Alert ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "internet security alert" virus, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing Internet Security Alert  ads from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.

Removing Internet Security Alert ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "internet security alert" virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing Internet Security Alert ads from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing Internet Security Alert ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with "internet security alert" virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge logoRemove malicious add-ons from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions, right click your mouse on these entries and click "Uninstall".

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), and select Settings.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 1

In the opened tab, click the "Choose what to clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 2

Click Show more and select everything, and then click the "Clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 3

  • If this didn't help, please follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove "internet security alert" virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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